Once he had bowed to Kings, now they greeted him as an equal. Twenty four years had passed since his journey to throw away his common background and take up a future filled with unique challenges and rewards, and he held few regrets. His name was spoken with respect, even if hostile, respected was he by even his enemies. Ruefully, he recalled he had gathered quite a few of them, enemies were unavoidable to someone of his stature.
Sitting in his study, he wondered if casting aside his past had truly been worth it. He stood at the top, he held prestige, fame, loyalty, wealth, influence and most importantly magery skills beyond the norm. The magery skills which had once been a curse had helped make him into who he was today, Lord Amadeus. Everyone had heard his name, songs of his exploits were sang far and wide and in his relative youth he had felt that he was fulfilled. Now, he was lonely in his own self-built fame. Now he waited with impatience, although his outer appearance would not have reflected that he held more than a mild degree of interest in the happening of the infirmary.
At the age of of thirty six years of age he was soon to become a father. The child was not borne out of love, although he did feel affection towards Arlyn the mage who had consented to carry his child. She had been a dear friend in the decade he had known her and out of mutual desire to experience parenthood they had came to the agreement.
The repercussions would be felt some day in the future, only if the child had inherited the gift both of his or her parents held. It was not unlikely but nor was it definite that the babe would inherit the gift that had brought Amadeus his fame and fortune. Despite the knowledge that the child might not have his gift, Amadeus was prepared to accept the child, he was not arrogant enough in his acceptance to believe he would not be disappointed but he could not allow himself to blame a child who had no say in what he or she inherited.
His study with its mage lights making up for the lack of natural light, he was paranoid not to have a window in his sanctum, too many of his peers had been killed in such manners, being negligent of their own but obvious mortality. Lining the walls were the mahogany bookshelves, where he kept his prized collection under magical protections that would put the Royal Records Room to shame.
His stout padded chair, battered and old but comfortable despite that held the place of honour to the left side of his desk that was covered in various parchments, scrolls, books, and ink quills. Normally, true to his routine he would be working on one project or another but his mind was devoted to his thoughts now, the thoughts of the child that would soon arrive. Such excitement even closely guarded with walls of calm surrounding it was something that was growing rarer and rarer as each day passed for him.
It wouldn't fade as he waited to be informed, to hear the news of this child, his child. The child would be brilliant, of that he was certain, Amadeus had proven at a young age he held a brilliant mind, and Arlyn was a gifted woman herself. He could already imagine feeling pride fill him at each important milestone that this child would pass, something that Amadeus had presumed his own father would have felt when he heard of each of his achievements.
A certain spiteful element arose within him whenever he thought of his father, a man who had refused to believe that Amadeus would achieve anything when he entered the world of mage guilds, not that his father would not feel pride for him. His father had despite his faults been a man who would have been proud to hear himself proven wrong. They had never reconciled, Amadeus had chosen to keep his past separated from his current life.
Ah, once he had been a dreamer and that attribute of him had definitely contributed to his success but the events that had helped shape him into who he was now had replaced the dreams with pragmatism. Dreams were for the young and inexperienced, that was one lesson he had taken to heart far too early. Yet something had rekindled within him, he was looking to the future rather than the present.
A child was many things, to some a child was simply a necessity in carrying on a family name or legacy; an extra pair of hands on a farm; a political tool to marry off; some were born to be loved and cherished and in the case of his child, it was out of a desire not vocalised to relight the part of himself that Amadeus missed dearly, the part of him that desired kinship and admittedly a heir to pass on all that he had learned about the essence of magic. His work was too important to die with him but he did not wish someone not connected to him to profit from all that he had discovered.
Arlyn held reasons that although she believed were unknown to him were quite clear, she wished only for a child but having no desire to marry or settle herself into a long-term partnership which would limit her work. Any romantic notions were lost on the serious mage, much like Amadeus. He appreciated that, having experienced more than his fair share of love charms and potions by supposedly respected mages of either gender, his fame and relative charisma coupled with an attractive appearance brought admirers for reasons other than his work.
That brought another issue on when to introduce a child, not just any child but his own into the world of mages. A valuable commodity, even if without his gift due to leverage to anyone hoping to pave a path towards Amadeus either out of hostility or even fanaticism.
He tapped the only bare surface area of his desk with his index finger and a sigh escaped from him. This waiting was severely trying his patience, not that he would compromise his cool persona carefully cultivated over the years by leaving his study until informed by the healers of the arrival of the child. At the very least he had enough self-control to do that.
His proximity wards alerted him immediately when someone approached his study and he quickly grabbed a quill and half-empty piece of parchment and affected the manner of a man who had been lost in his work, his pride would not allow him to be caught distracted. The tap on his door was light but loud enough for him to hear, especially as he was expecting it. “You may enter.” He called and with a careless wave of his hand he unlocked the door and it opened and Selwin entered. A fellow friend, or acquaintance with vague ties of a closer nature, whatever he was to Amadeus, he was trustworthy.
“A boy, Arlyn has had a son,” Selwin informed him, the brown haired healer-mage was watching Amadeus closely for he was the only other who was aware of who the father of the child was and being the meddling man he was, he wanted to know of how Amadeus felt at the announcement he had just given. “The boy is healthy and gifted, I presume we'll be seeing great things in the future.”
Amadeus stood, trying to hold onto the calm composure he projected and nodded a dismissal to Selwin. “I will go to the infirmary and meet the child, unless you have objections?” He murmured, raising an eyebrow just as at the same time his eyes dared Selwin to deny him access. He could see a half-smile forming as the healer shook his head and gestured at the door.
"Your son,Amadeus," the bundle in her arms stirred as she spoke while presenting the newborn babe to the man. "a worthy heir of your blood presented to you." Her face was obscured from view from hair that was tangled and damp with sweat. Arlyn's lips twisted into a half-smile at his expression of barely veiled wonder.
Amadeus studied the newborn babe with interest, the child indeed possessed a gift that held great potential, his face reminiscent of his own as a child. "I have decided in his favour," he announced noting the relaxing shoulders of Arlyn at his words. Arlyn who perhaps knew him better than most had been unsure of his reaction to the child, her agreement to carry his child mostly out of her own desire to be a mother. "Aric will be the name I bestow to him, what of you?"
"Alden, the choice is of Alden from myself." Arlyn who birthed the child answered softly as she brought her gaze up to the Lord. Silver eyes meeting the startling green of his without a flinch. She saw approval in her choice.
"Alden Aric, a good strong name." Amadeus commentated as he once again brought his eyes down to the child. The child was not a handsome one, not so soon after being brought into the world but part of him could only feel amazement at the newborn. The child while being healthy was small, so fragile in appearance that he had found himself reluctant to hold the child as expected of him as the father.
The room had a sharp smell of having been sterilised with magic that bothered him. The smell was not unpleasant but far too strong for him to ignore it. The infirmary was empty other than them, Selwin had gone to refresh himself and catch up on the sleep he needed and the students under Selwin had gone to their own rooms.
At her prompting Amadeus finally but rather reluctantly took Alden into his arms, once he was holding the baby it was less of a daunting task, the child was sleeping peacefully. The soft green blankets that the newborn were bundled up in were stitched with interpretations of various plants and animals, he noticed that Arlyn would never have made a living as a embroiderer, she lacked the ability to do it well.
Her dark hair was fanned out on the pillow as she lay back, her eyes were closed and she was dozing lightly, mindful of the fact that she had spent hours in childbirth Amadeus had left her alone. Arlyn looked softer in a light sleep than she ever did awake.
However that left him alone with a newborn child. Amadeus had not a single idea on how to care for a child, what if the baby cried? He shuddered to think of him struggling to quieten the child but failing. He did not care to fail in such a trivial matter. At the moment all he could do was be thankful for the grace of having to care for the child while he slept.
Soft dark hair that was albeit sparse but still there was as dark as his own, admittedly he felt a spike of satisfaction that this child had inherited hair darker than his mother, hair that was the same as Amadeus's own. He wondered when the child would open his eyes, he wondered if the eyes would be the silver of Arlyn or the sharp green of his own, either would do well. He was surprised that being a father was this simple, his son simply slept in his arms.
He must have spoken so soon because just as he thought that, Alden began to cry.
As soon as Arlyn had taken Alden into her arms and placed him at her breast the child had ceased his wails and instead began to greedily feed. Amadeus averted his gaze, feeling it was impolite to watch despite Arlyn being unconcerned with his presence in the infirmary. He could have left the infirmary but he found himself fascinated by his child. He had never, not since he was a child being around a baby and most certainly not one of his own. A new experience, it was not the same exhiliration as the quests he had taken years ago, of battling Mages of the Collective Yew Guilds but it was another type entirely.
“I am still capable of speech Amadeus,” Arlyn spoke in a half-amused and half-irritated voice that broke him out of his thoughts easily, as she had intended. He turned his gaze towards her face where her lips were twitching into a smile, she had caught him off-guard and she knew it. “he is beautiful, this child, is he not?”
Amadeus not trusting himself to speak without giving her more ammunition on him nodded in agreement. “His gift is strong.” His words were neutral and well in his character to say.
Arlyn snorted. “Of course, this child is the son of two great mages, he will be greater than us both combined, of that I am certain. He will be our greatest pride. My father will finally be relieved that he has a grandchild to spoil and to inherit and stop pressuring me to find myself a man to marry.” Her chin was raised and her eyes sparkled.
He privately agreed that about the child growing to be great was more than likely.”He holds great potential, a well of power waiting to be tapped.” He offered it up and found that Arlyn beamed in approval of his compliments. He wondered if she had forgotten that this child shared his blood as well, even as aloof as people considered him to be, he was merely human and he was not cold-hearted. This child was his own after-all, he was allowed to be complimentary.
Adjusting her button up shift to cover her chest, Alden obviously now sated on his mothers milk and content to return to his previously activity, sleeping and Arlyn smiled down at the sleeping baby. “You are quite smitten, aren't you Amadeus?” She poised the question with understanding in her unusual eyes that despite the faint shadows underneath them from having slept so little as of late seemed to be remarkably cheerful. “It was rhetorical, I already know the answer. He is very special, I never presumed to think that immediately I would feel so content with having him. I feared it would be the opposite, being an only child never gave me much time to be around children.”
“I would never have guessed,” Amadeus said in what he hoped was a gallant gesture, it was true however. It seemed that Arlyn who was known for her vicious illusionary techniques that could drive anyone insane with just mere minutes trapped within the strongest ones held a maternal side, he wondered if her victims would find this amusing, not that many of them did much more than spend their days locked up lost in whatever nightmares she had woven into her illusions.”I wonder if you could weave illusions to amuse him as he grows, ones suitable and harmless to a child.”
A light pink flush of colour stained her cheeks. “I have already done so, my father did so when I was a child, it is educational for young minds.”
“He shall need to be protected, I will work on layered protection wards for him—his gift alone makes him a target for scrupless guilds and his parentage makes him an even greater one.” Amadeus frowned as he spoke, he wished that he had considered the protection wards earlier but nevertheless he would not be able to place them until the baby was nearing his second week.
A weary sigh escaped from Arlyn's lips as she pursed them. “Indeed, my father will wish to be included into weaving his own safeguards but any woven by you shouldn't need any extra strength but I can hardly tell him that? If I informed him you were Alden's father he would be unable to keep his mouth shut.” The last part was said in half exasperation and fondness.
Lord Arle was not known for his ability to keep secrets and would indeed confide in a friend who would confide in another friend, in the end most of Leylan would know.
“Unless a small secrecy oath was requested.” Amadeus suggested.
Arlyn chuckled. “I can imagine how well he would take that, having such a secret and being unable to share it. I think my father has no need to know at the moment.”